Activist and Researcher Bela Bhatia Attacked and Threatened

(Update: 24th Jan, 11:00pm.) As well wishers across the country dialed the police administration to ensure Bela’s safety, they have received direct threats from the administration (see BBC Hindi, for example). The response ranges from “F u”, “Stop bitching”, “If you come in front of me, I will chappal you idiot”, to more revealing threats, “The drama has just begun dear.” to “Very soon Maoists and their dogs will be thrown out of Bastar” (see here, a short compilation). Many of these came directly as a response to messages send to Bastar’s IGP Kalluri. One of the supporters reported that on calling IGP Kalluri, he told the person that “Bela has been attacked and has passed away”. Thankfully, Bela has not been physically harmed so far.

(Original: 23rd Jan.) Just a couple of days after she helped a team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate complaints of rapes by the security forces near Bijapur (South Chhattisgarh), Bela Bhatia was told by a mob of goons to leave her house in Parpa village outside Jagdalpur or face the consequences.

Already two days ago, goons had come to her house in the middle of the night and told her to leave. There have been earlier threats of this sort also, and her landlord has been under constant pressure to evict her.

This morning (23 January), about 30 goons came to Bela’s house in Parpa and gave her 24 hours to leave. They came in a Bolero-type vehicle (CG173056) and several motorbikes. They were very threatening. They told Bela to leave immediately. They threatened to burn the house, kill her dog, etc., and also threatened the landlady. After some time they barged into the house, in a very threatening manner. Somehow Bela managed to call the local thana. The police came but did not do much to restrain the goons, except when they tried to move again into the house. Bela agreed (in writing) to leave and pleaded for time – a few days. They refused and wanted her to leave immediately. Eventually they agreed to give her 24 hours to leave.

Urgent Action Appeal by activists:

Yesterday we received a message from Bela saying that some people CAME TO HER HOUSE AROUND 1.30 in the morning and started asking about her landlord. Different ways of threatening her landlord has been going on since last few weeks. Today we hear that she has been attacked and forced out of her house. They threatened her that if she doesn’t leave they will burn the house. Huge number of people went to her place and even threatened her landlord. As you all must be aware, Bela recently also accompanied the NHRC team to Bijapur.

Please call the administration to ensure Bela’s safety :
DGP(Naxal op), DM Awasthi: 09981064764
IG, SRP Kalluri: 09479194000, 08889900515, 975430800, 975563657
SP Bastar, RN DASH : 9479194003
Collector, Amit Kataria: 0945580306

Media coverage on the the incident:

  1. Indian Express: Social activist Bela Bhatia threatened, asked to leave Bastar in 24 hours.
  2. NDTV: Activist Bela Bhatia Attacked At Home In Chhattisgarh’s Bastar, Asked To Leave In 24 Hours
  3. IndiaToday: Chhattisgarh activist Bela Bhatia attacked, asked to vacate Bastar house
  4. Jansatta (जनसत्ता): मानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ता बेला भाटिया के घर हमला, अज्ञात हमलावरों ने 24 घंटे में शहर छोड़ने की धमकी भी दी.
  5. CatchNews (Hindi): सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता बेला भाटिया पर हमला, 24 घंटे के भीतर बस्तर छोड़ने की धमकी.
  6. The Wire: Academic Bela Bhatia Attacked, Threatened in Bastar.

Social media:

(This post is a compilation of updates from multiple sources.)